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First United Methodist Church

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1953, Alfred E. Preis. 1012 S. Beretania St.
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)

Bright, airy, and incredibly open, the spacious interior of the First United Methodist Church instills an abiding serenity. Less a room than an extension of the outdoors, the two-story nave has no solid side walls. Instead, the “walls” consist of four rectangular piers with sliding glass doors between them on the first floor, and wide-meshed wire screens enclosing the second. Lava-rock concrete planter boxes demarcate the two stories, and wood brackets extend from the piers to support bi-level pergolas. The church's solid walls are constructed of lava rock embedded in concrete, which Preis had previously experimented with at Laupahoehoe Elementary and High School (HA51). The sanctuary's end walls are a simple, yet ingenious, pair of convex rectangular slabs which converge on a sliver of glass block. At the altar end, the glass block forms a luminous Latin cross. The chancel, with its cast-stone pulpit and lectern and wood-paneled choir, contrasts with the openness of the nave; its walls converge then expand and culminate at a built-in, concave, polished concrete altar table, from which the cross appears to rise. The church is a delightful composition, especially when viewed from the rear gallery.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "First United Methodist Church", [Honolulu, Hawaii], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Hawaii

Buildings of Hawaii, Don J. Hibbard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011, 133-133.

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